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A Bridge Too Populist

Methinks the Maxspeak endorsement of Marion Barry for City Council takes his populism a bit too far. Indeed, the "endorsment" consists entirely of criticisms of Anthony Williams and The Washington Post editorial board. The latter is much worth criticizing, and the former somewhat worth criticizing. Still, what we don't have here is a compelling case for Marion Barry. And this is much of the problem. I think it's pretty clear that the good people of Ward 8 supported him because:

  1. They feel like they've gotten a raw deal.
  2. They feel that the Powers That Be don't really care.
  3. They feel that the Powers That Be don't like Mariod Barry.
Therefore, we shall elect Barry and piss off the Powers That Be. And pissed off the powers shall be, but what we don't have here is a constructive solution to the problems facing the residents of Ward 8. I'll refrain from issuing knee-jerk denunciations of the man, but there's little in his record or his platform to suggest that he'll actually make anything better. Urban poverty is a legitimately tough problem, especially at the municipal level which is not well-suited to large-scale wealth transfers, so the fact that someone is strongly in favor of doing something about it is, at best, the beginning of a conversation about whether or not he deserves support.

September 15, 2004 | Permalink


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